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Romans 2:1-16

Chapter 1: Reveals the unrighteousness of man
Chapter 2: Reveals the self-righteousness of man

IMPORTANT: Paul is not addressing Salvation here, he is talking about God's Judgment. He is not addressing anyone who has been saved in Christ. He is still in the preamble showing why mankind needs the Gospel.

Five Principles of God's Judgment:
1) God's judgment based on truth.
2) Judge according to man's deeds.
3) Sin without law will perish without law. Sin in the law will be judged by the law.
4) Not hearer's of the law, but doers of the law. are justified (righteous).
5) If no law, but follow a natural law written in their hearts, their conscience will be their witness before God.
Paul thouroughly showed the unrighteousness of man in chapter 1.

There is discussion on whether Chapter 2 is addressing moralist, Jews, or both.

Regardless, there were people who would say, "You go Paul, those people you are talking about in Chapter 1 are wicked. They need help."

Not so fast Paul says, in opening chapter 2:
Don't be so fast to pass judgment on the people described in Chapter 1. By passing judgment you show you know right from wrong (moralist) or the law (Jews).

You are condemning yourself because you know right from wrong (or the law) and yet you to do the same types of things. Because YOU think you are good person - do you think your sins are going to be missed by God? Do you think because you prosper that God is ok with your life? You should be on your knees thanking God and seeking Him.

Instead mankind is stubborn and has an unrepentant heart (turned from God) and is storing up wrath until the day of God's Righteous Judgment.

[God's judgment will be based on Truth. The Truth has been revealed in Jesus Christ. All the fancy machinations of man to try and justify themselves will be for naught. The Truth is - you reject Jesus - you are condemned. It is just a matter of what will be the judgment. Doesn't matter how many times you pray, how many rituals and rites you perform, how much you give to charity, how many times you do inherantly good acts, etc. - ME]
The next part is important, because some people will claim - Aha! Paul is talking about "salvation by works". No. remember Paul is talking about judgment. He is creating the need for the Gospel.

God "will give to each person according to what he has done."

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

To the Jews and moralists who have knowledge of the Law and "right and wrong". God will judge you by what you did - and HERE are his STANDARDS.

If you steadfastly do good - seeking to reflect the glory of God, earn God's honor, and seek purity (incorruptable life) - well - you get eternal life.

[Problem is just like the Law in the Old Testament this standard is impossible for man to achieve. Second Problem the self-righteous addressed in this chapter are not seeking God. There has to be another way - and Paul reveals it later in Romans. - ME]

But if you reject God, seek your own way, do the same type of things listed in Chapter 1 - you will receive wrath and anger. Because no one can satisfy God's high standard above - all fall in this category.
Paul wraps up this section before addressing the Jews specifically by:

Knowing the Law or not knowing the Law - you will be judged.

If you know the law only if you obey it will you be declared righteous - just as impossible as the "good" standard above.

If you don't know it - you obey some kind of ethical code based on innate knowledge of being in the "image" of God. Your conscience will be your testimony.

Paul's prognosis is not good for anybody that rejects God. There are no excuses.

I have a question for God and Paul when I see him: Are the "absolutes" of all who sin apart from the law - pointed at the Roman Empire's populace, civilized world of the time, or everybody everywhere? I truly don't know, and probably will not resolve this question in my lifetime.

NOTE: I still think that in the jungles, islands, and tundras etc. that if inhabitants are seeking God to the extant they understand their revelation of God - God will judge fairly and justly.


There is an alternate explanation of verse 7 - but to me it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to make the "explanation fit". I prefer to look at this as a logically progressing argument - hence I took a straightforward approach on verse 7. The idea being there is no way the self-righteous can justify themselves before God.

Also, I am journaling here, and working my way through Romans. If someone thinks I am way off base - it will not hurt my feelings to point out disagreement.

My thoughts on Proverbs 19:11 – Life is a balance scale with love on one side and detest on the other. The situations we face in life can easily tip the scale one way or the other. As Christians we must constantly strive to see that the scale tips in favor of love and not of detest. That does not mean that we have to either like or accept what others do wrongly to us or other people who are hurt, but that we must expend more energy on loving than dwelling on what was wrong. The more serious the wrongdoing, the harder to balance the scale. For instance, in the case of an abusive relationship of any type, the person being abused is neither encouraged nor expected to overlook the abuse and stay in the abusive relationship. However, unless the one being abused can strive to keep love alive in his/her life, the abuse will become the center of all thoughts and emotions. It will build a wall separating the abused one from being able to love or trust anyone including God. We must overlook wrongdoings in so far as we prohibit them from controlling our lives but that does not mean that the wrongdoing is either justifiable or acceptable!

5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence
his soul hates.

And yet there is so much violence in the OT. When something needs to be accomplished--God sends (or allows?) war to accomplish the end desired.

The incredible amount of war and slaughter in the OT makes it hard for me to wrap my heart and mind around how God--who is unchanging--can also be the one responsible for using war to accomplish his purposes. Jesus could have come to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression, but instead he became victorious over it by his submission to the death and then (of course!!) his resurrection. He told Peter that he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. He extended the Kingdom of God to Gentiles--he did not start a campaign to wipe them out.

I feel that I am not articulating this fully, but it's been on my mind so much because of our readings.

You asked about "overlooking wrongs". I consistently believe that there are items in life that rise to the level of confrontation with another person. A proverb is not an absolute command but rather a principle upon which to build our lives. So I would say to you that for the most part, it is good to overlook a wrong, that is forgiveness. I would also say that if a brother contiues to sin, go and reprove them in private (Matt. 18:15); but before you go... I believe there is a process we must go through and that is the process of forgiveness. Forgiveness and restoration of fellowship are two things that I believe Jesus enforces here. I tell church members constantly who may complain about someone else... have you spoken with them? (No) they say... well then cease the gossip and either forgive and overlook the offense or go talk with them and work it out. The rantings of a pastor.

Micah Girl,

There was a comment by David Guzik for Romans 3 that applies to your question - it addresses the idea of "Is God unjust who inflicts wrath?"

"In theory, the most dramatic example of someone who might ask this question is Judas. Can you hear Judas make his case? “Lord, I know that I betrayed Jesus, but You used it for good. In fact, if I hadn’t done what I did, Jesus wouldn’t have gone to the cross at all. What I did even fulfilled the Scriptures. How can You judge me at all?” The answer to Judas might go like this: “Yes, God used your wickedness but it was still your wickedness. There was no good or pure motive in your heart at all. It is no credit to you that God brought good out of your evil. You stand guilty before God.” - David Guzik

God used the tribes of Israel to wage war on tribes in Canaan as the judgment and punishment for those that reject God. Rahab was spared and said 'we know of your God", they had heard and knew about the God of Israel - yet instead of seeking Him they rejected Him. The judgment was righteous and it also showed the Glory of God by using an unknown nomadic group to defeat the powers in the area.

When attacked and God was consulted He brought Israel great victories. David never lost a battle. The attackers were utilizing free will and the disposition of their hearts when attacking Israel - God used their disposition to bring Israel victories.

When Israel continually sinned against God, they were attacked and carried off - Assyria, Babylon, Romans.... Again this was the judgment of God who used the pre-disposed disposition of warlike conquering entities to fulfill his purposes and plan for judgment on Israel. Yet, a remnant (varying sizes) would be preserved. Most nations of that size would never have survived those kinds of dispersions. they would have been assimilated and forgotten.

Finally, Jesus' death and resurrection was not a victory over Rome oppression - it was a victory over death and Satan. Jesus' way is the way of God (He is God) - the gospel is the mission - it is never to be spread by the sword. Of course man, being screwed up their were abuses of Jesus' message (the inquisition, Crusades, etc.) - but that was done by leaders who were either not "true believers" - or let the "desires of the world" take over their thought instead of keeping their eye heavenward.

In the end the judgment and bloodshed in Revelations will make the Old Testament seem like a picnic in the park. That of course will be God's judgment in toto.

I probably left out some Old Testament examples, but they can all be explained in the same pattern as the three examples given above.

1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30

I couldn’t help notice that through this read I became intrigued by the actions of Hanun the son of King Nahash of the Ammonites. Like Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, Hanun took counsel from a set of advisers who gave him the wrong information and set into action a conflict that would end in great damage. Hanun’s choice ended in war with Israel; Rehoboam’s choices ended in the division of Israel into two nations and civil war.

Who in my life have I set up as advisers? Do the ones I go to counsel out of the Wisdom of God or do they counsel out of their own intellect, worldly wisdom? Do I rely on the Holy Spirit to discern between foolish counsel and wise counsel?

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20 KJV)

Grace and peace,

Thanks John - I equally needed to hear that answer once more to remind myself of the very same truths, as I've equally grappled with the same question, and although I just accepted it, never could quite figure it out adequately, and never got round to researching either. Appreciated :))

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